Rory McIlroy confessed he feels completely unprepared for next week’s Open championship after another day to forget at Dundonald.
The former world number one, whose start to the year was curtailed by a rib injury, arrived at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open hoping for a confidence boost ahead of Royal Birkdale next week.
But he left Ayrshire last night with more questions than answers as he continues to struggle badly with his game.
Putting was the problem when he missed the cut in Ireland last week. Chipping was to blame when he began the Scottish Open with a disappointing 74.
Yesterday it was the turn of his driver to start playing up as he missed several fairways on his way to a one under par 71 that was not enough to prevent another weekend off.
McIlroy finished one over par to miss his third cut in four events. He said: “I haven’t had enough competitive rounds this year.
“I missed a lot of events with the injury. You can’t mess about with injuries and come back too early.
“I have been playing catch up all year.
“I would have loved to have played more rounds going into, not just the Open, but the rest of the year but I’m sort of trying to learn as I go along.”
This was the only the fourth time since 2008 that McIlroy has missed successive cuts on the European Tour.
The 28-year-old said he will go straight to Birkdale to get some extra practice in ahead of the third major of the year.
But despite his poor form, he still believes he can work his way into the mix next week.
He added: “I’m not getting to play the weekend but I’d be much more worried if I went out there and shot a couple of 76s and was nowhere near making the cut.
“The difference between shooting one under par and four or five under par isn’t that much of a difference.
“If I go to Birkdale next week and I shoot a couple of even pars like I’ve done these last couple weeks, I don’t think I’ll be that far away.
“I know it is going to be a much tougher test but I feel like I’m more than capable of getting myself into contention.”
McIlroy wasn’t the only big name casualty to make an early exit from the competition.
Defending champion Alex Noren bowed out after finishing six over after scores of 70 and 76, while Martin Kaymer, Patrick Reed, Jason Dufner and Tyrrell Hatton all missed out by a shot.
With bad weather forecast later this afternoon, today’s third round will get under way earlier than planned at 6.50am so that play is concluded by 4pm.